Learn Fascinating Courses While Preparing For College

Prepare for university-level education by studying topics outside of the school curriculum, in a small class of like-minded, intelligent peers and taught by our passionate tutors.

You may choose two or three courses, one from each option block. This gives you lots of flexibility to try new things or in some cases specialise.

 

Time Daily Schedule
8:15 am Breakfast in the Dining Hall
9 am until 10:30 am Class One
10:45 am until 12:15 pm Class Two
12:15 pm until 1:45 pm Time for lunch or to explore Cambridge
1:45 pm until 3:15 pm Class Three
3:30 pm until 4:30-5 pm Afternoon Activity
6:30 pm Dinner in the Dining Hall
7:30 - 8 pm until 9 - 11 pm (varies) Evening Activity
Time Daily Schedule

Option One

Chemistry

Chemistry is the science of matter. Understanding what matter is made of and how these substances interact with one another are the key aims of this course.

Everything we breathe, touch, eat, drink and smell is made of molecules. In fact everything in the universe is made up of no more than 100 elements. In the first week of this course you will discover how the combinations of these elements can make sugar sweet, make soap soapy, and give rise to the spectacular colours of autumn foliage. You will discover how nature creates giant molecular chains of silk, and how industry weaves synthetic silk imitations. You will be introduced to the molecules that can ease pain and alleviate depression, as well as those that cause addiction and wreak havoc on our environment.1

Molecules interact with one another in processes known as chemical reactions. In the second week of this course you will learn how chemical reactions happen by gaining understanding of the bonding in molecules, and by determining whether an interaction is favourable or not. You will discover how a combination of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, molecular orbital theory and “curly arrows” can allow you to determine the outcome of a chemical reaction. 2

Chemists are always trying to make new molecules, using chemical reactions, for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of mankind. These molecules are used in the treatment and prevention of disease, in the fuels that power the modern world, and in household product that people rely on daily. The fundamentals covered in this course are a basis for all these current advancements in chemistry and more.[1] P.W. Atkins, Molecules, W.H. Freeman and Co., (1987).[2] J. Keeler and P. Wothers, Why Chemical Reactions Happen, OUP, (2003)

Criminal & Forensic Psychology

The course is designed to look at standard accounts of criminal behaviour against a historical background and to bring critical thinking to some of the attempts to provide a scientific basis for the fear engendered by criminal behaviour. The institution of the prison and its growth is examined alongside rational choice theory and the growing evidence of contextual and situational elements in crime. Omissions from the standard approaches to the topic are looked at alongside evolutionary factors and genocide. Moral panics have been associated with forensic psychology from its earliest origins and current examples of these will be discussed by using case histories of crimes which have been committed in recent years. Clinical explanations will be critically appraised from the standpoint of validity and reliability of diagnostic tests such as DNA evidence. Different theoretical frameworks will be compared and contrasted.

Economics & Finance

We will develop the tools to allow us to learn economics properly and then apply them to microeconomics - the study of decisions on the small scale of individuals and firms - and macroeconomics - the study of the large scale of the whole economy. We will consider the foundations of economics from the moral philosophy of the Classical Greeks to Adam Smith's seminal work The Wealth of Nations, and research some of the most influential economists of all time - including John Maynard Keynes, who was an academic at the University of Cambridge and whose work has had a huge impact upon economic policy for the past 80 years. We will also learn about financial statements and consider basic quantitative methods in finance to allow us to develop some financial analysis of fixed income, equities and portfolio management.

Essay Writing

This course covers the essential writing skills needed for producing successful academic essays. The course will help students to present themselves, their opinions and their ideas fluently, with the aim of being fully in control of what is being said and the impression that is created. We will cover all the basics, from grammar and style through to thesis and topic statements, and how to structure paragraphs. We will examine arguments of many kinds, and do exercises daily, whilst using Cambridge and its many museums as inspiration.

We will consider examples of essays and non-fiction across the ages, including the works of several ‘Cambridge authors’, such as Francis Bacon, Samuel Pepys, and Sylvia Plath. Students will have the opportunity to do some creative writing if they wish. There will also be a session on college application essays and personal statements.

Journalism

You don’t necessarily need to be thinking of journalism as a career; the aims of the course are to develop your skills of research, interviewing and writing clearly for a range of different purposes and audiences; and, by the end of the course, to produce a CSP publication which will be of interest to your fellow students and their tutors.

With all this in mind we will focus on the central Cambridge area, where the course is based, and explore the rhythms and management of the university, the city and the course itself. This will involve interviewing the Mayor, officers of the university, the managers of the market, the river Cam and some of the shops, as well as reporting on your own activities and fellow members.

There will be opportunities for you to develop your own particular interests, whether reporting, feature journalism, editing and so on, and we hope you will get to know Cambridge better through writing about it, and enjoying the processes.

Mind Games

A must for those who want an easy way to sharpen their brains. The students will master fun techniques of sound logic, whilst considering some philosophical thinking and fostering the skills that lead to true creative thought. Powerful and simple memory tricks will also be developed, to enable students to recall an astonishing amount of factual information with ease. Discover the tricks – clean and dirty – used by politicians and journalists to win arguments, and learn to avoid the fallacies – false logic – that trap the unwary into badly-thought out conclusions. The easiest, most fun way to get an upgrade for your mind!

Superstrings

Superstring heory states that everything in the universe, matter, forces, even space itself consists of minuscule strings in a higher dimensional space-time, having more then three spatial dimensions. The building blocks of the Universe, including protons, neutrons and electrons are not elementary particles, but rather tiny superstrings that both vibrate and rotate in a ten-dimensional space-time.

All particles and forces of Nature would be unified by Superstring theory.

The consequences of the superstring theory are far reaching: in particular the implications on cosmology will be discussed : how can such a theory describe the birth of our Universe ? One of the astonishing consequences is how the theory changes the Big Bang scenario of cosmology as described by Einstein’s General Relativity Theory, such that our picture of the origin of the Universe needs to be changed completely ! The theory of black holes will be discussed as well as another possible implication of Superstring theories: the existence of parallel universes. Deep interrelations between gravitational theories and Quantum Field Theories will be presented as well.

The subject will be presented in a qualitative way, avoiding where possible mathematical developments, in order to give an intuitive grasp of the subject and an introduction to the basic or fundamental principles of this new Theory of Everything. Before the actual discussion of Superstring theory, a brief review will be made of physics before the creation of string theories, in order to get a deeper understanding of the new Superstring theory.

Option Two

Business Psychology

This course will introduce students to major topics in management and organizational behavior: Why are some people more satisfied than others in their careers? How do people emerge as leaders in business settings? What are the most effective ways to motivate and influence people in organizations? Through lectures, hands-on activities, and simulations, students will connect insights from business research to practical examples that they can use in their everyday lives. In addition, this course serves as a primer for those wishing to study business and management at the university level.

Cambridge Thinking

Coming to college or university can be a daunting transition. Most of us want to know that we’ll be well prepared to cope with a new style and pace of learning, and aren’t always sure that our schooling so far has set us up sufficiently.

Those who succeed the most as an undergraduate at college are those who have a strong grasp of key skills: analysing texts or data, evaluating information, and being able to form their own original conclusions. These are all skills that can be learnt, and this Cambridge Thinking course introduces them in a fun, accessible way, with lots of practice to reinforce systems of critical thought and problem solving, to give the confidence to students that they are absolutely “College-ready”.

This is the sister course to the hugely popular Mind Games class, with a more purely academic focus; getting students ready in good time to excel at degree level. It can be taken as a companion course or as a standalone, and will be of benefit to any high school student, regardless of level or experience.

Debate

Through theory and plenty of practice we explore the skills of sound logical reasoning, clear expression and the art of public speaking. We will trace these skills back to the debates in Plato, Aristotle and Cicero as to the relative values and processes of Dialectic, Rhetoric and Oratory. We will cover different debating formats, and explore the ceremonial and persuasive forms of rhetoric; alongside these we will consider the processes of argument which involve planning for the future (deliberation) and assessing past events (judicial). We will also explore the various types of fallacies, and introduce the basics of how to use your voice to its best effect.

The aim is that you will develop your own understanding and use of these skills, and gain greater confidence in expressing yourself, as well as being able to assess critically the arguments of others.

English Literature

This course will be an introduction to studying English literature at an advanced level, and is designed for students who have a love of literature and would like to deepen their understanding and sharpen their critical skills. The course will be of benefit to all those currently taking literature courses, and to those thinking of studying literature at university level, but will be entirely accessible for those thinking deeply about literature for the first time.

We will study texts ranging from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, and source for later fantasy literature, Beowulf (read in Seamus Heaney’s translation) through to the present, including texts across the genres of poetry, fictional and non-fictional prose, and drama. We will survey some of Shakespeare’s plays; look at extracts from John Milton’s Paradise Lost ; consider the novels of Jane Austen, and the romantic poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and in the twentieth century, the poetry of W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Students are also welcome to draw on texts with which they are already familiar.

As well as learning to read closely and critically, we will consider some wider approaches too, such as reading with an historical awareness and from other perspectives.

International Relations, Politics & Leadership

You will learn and practice methods of influence and persuasion, consider how power has been applied throughout history, and research the international relations of your favourite period. We may have debates on relevant topics such as the state, global governance, war and security, the politics of the developing world, US foreign policy, the politics of the Middle East, and globalisation. You will practice negotiations and put yourself in the shoes of one of the great statesmen or stateswomen throughout history, leading your state to glory!

The Quantum Universe

This classical course in physics will cover the following topics: the failure of classical physics (black-body radiation; photoelectric effect; optical spectra); Planck’s explanation of black-body radiation, Planck’s constant and photons; Einstein’s invocation of photons to explain the photoelectric effect; optical spectra and the discovery of helium in the atmosphere of the sun; the electron and the nuclear atom; Bohr’s quantum orbits; electron spin and Pauli’s exclusion principle; wave-particle duality; De Broglie and his association of waves with matter; Schrödinger’s cat; Dirac, quantum electrodynamics, spin and his prediction of the positron; Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle; the Copenhagen interpretation; non-locality and Bell’s inequality theorem.

Option Two

Computer Science

Harness the power of computers to solve problems and develop valuable career skills! Using languages like Ruby, Python or Javascript we will start to learn programming and use our new skills for web development and to automate tasks.

Cosmology

Cosmology is one of the most rapidly changing fields in physics: its evolution has generated a succession of deep conceptual changes in our worldview. Since the birth of Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, many of the features of dynamically evolving universe models have been confirmed by observation. Yet some aspects remain unexplained even today within the Standard Big Bang model. Inflationary cosmology does seem to be able to solve some of these problems, but inflation itself leaves many open questions.

Moreover, recent observations suggest that the expansion of the universe is accelerated, for which there exists at present no satisfactory explanation in the context of modern physics theories.

Higher dimensional Superstring theory solutions might help us understand the puzzling characteristics of our universe and the conceptual changes of these new views of the world might radically alter the landscape of theoretical physics. M-theory based models could even imply that the Big Bang is not the beginning of the universe and that the past of our world could well have been infinite. Many of the high energy physics theories will be tested at the particle accelerator LHC, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.

Prof. Stephen Hawking has given major contributions to the field of cosmology and has shaped its evolution until present. His work is also at the basis of all we presently know about black hole space-times. This course will discuss all these fascinating problems of cosmology and theoretical physics through a presentation of Prof. Stephen Hawking’s major discoveries. A visit to Prof. Stephen Hawking’s department, the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics ( DAMTP ) at the recently built Centre of Mathematical Sciences ( CMS ) in Cambridge, will be part of this course.

Engineering

This is a practical class based on the first project set for University of Cambridge Engineering students. Students work in teams to research, think for themselves and develop their own mechanical robots built from Mindstorms Lego, before giving a presentation to the class. Develop your skills in team work, time and project management, problem solving and communication while learning first-hand about structures, mechanics and electronics by participating in research, design and testing.

Law

The aim of this course is to introduce you to the general principles of law and the different legal and constitutional systems in the world. You will be encouraged to engage in active discussions and to draw comparisons with your own constitutional arrangements. There will be specific student centred activities to prepare in advance and also visits to the court and other legal institutions in Cambridge.

Medicine

This course will introduce some of the core topics of a Medicine degree. You will learn some of the main areas of human anatomy, physiology and pathology. The organs and systems in the human body will be discussed, such as the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and immune system, along with what happens when they develop problems.

Mind Games

A must for those who want an easy way to sharpen their brains. The students will master fun techniques of sound logic, whilst considering some philosophical thinking and fostering the skills that lead to true creative thought. Powerful and simple memory tricks will also be developed, to enable students to recall an astonishing amount of factual information with ease. Discover the tricks – clean and dirty – used by politicians and journalists to win arguments, and learn to avoid the fallacies – false logic – that trap the unwary into badly-thought out conclusions. The easiest, most fun way to get an upgrade for your mind!

Scriptwriting

So you want to be a script-writer? Is that a screen-writer…or a play-wright?…or don’t know yet? This strongly practical course initially explores common areas of script-writing such as character, dialogue and scene development and progresses to the specific technicalities of writing for the screen. Through a combination of discussion, practical and written activities, including viewing film extracts, reading Oscar-winning scripts and both individual and group contributions in class students will be able to develop and structure their own ideas. This course is suitable for all levels: whether students come armed with the 1st Draft of a mini-series or have no more than a vague idea they would like to write “something”, by the end of the course they will have their own kind of “Step-by-Step Guide to approaching the art of Scriptwriting and have a greater understanding of how to apply that art to their own work.